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Swedish soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Swedish soldier killed in Afghanistan
Berndt Grundevik announces the soldier's death at Armed Forces HQ in Stockholm
21:03 CEST+02:00
A Swedish soldier was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday when an armoured modular vehicle (AMV) was blown up by an improvised explosive device west of Mazar-i-Sharif.

A further two soldiers were injured in the attack, although their injuries were not described to be life-threatening.

Torbjörn F Gustafsson at the Swedish Armed Forces, confirmed that the dead soldier comes from the Stockholm area, although divulged no further information.

"Relatives have to be notified first," he said.

An ambulance helicopter was called to the location, but by the time the soldier arrived at the Marmal military hospital doctors declared that the Swede had died, according to a Armed Forces press release.

The attack occurred at around 4pm Swedish time, beginning when a combat vehicle 90 (CV90) came under fire. The AMV was called forward, but was then blown up.

Some 500 Swedish troops are currently posted in northern Afghanistan serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Swedish troops were sent to the country in early 2002, even though Sweden is officially neutral and not a member of NATO.

According to the armed forces five Swedish troops have died in Afghanistan since that date.

ISAF said earlier Saturday that two coalition soldiers had died in separate attacks.

The first soldier died following an improvised explosive device blast in the south of the country, while the second was killed in an "insurgent attack" in the north, ISAF said without releasing any further details.

It is ISAF policy not to identify the nationalities of dead soldiers.

This year, the deadliest yet for foreign forces, 592 NATO-led soldiers have been killed in fighting in Afghanistan, according to an AFP tally based on the independent icasualities.org website, compared to 521 killed last year.

There are more than 150,000 international troops deployed in Afghanistan trying to defeat a Taliban-led insurgency aimed at toppling the country's Western-backed democracy.

The rebels have stepped up attacks every year since the Taliban regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in late 2001.

To root out the rebels, Washington deployed an extra 30,000 reinforcements this year as the basis of a surge strategy aimed at speeding an end to the war. About 10,000 more NATO troops were also deployed.

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